BRUSSELS—Bridgestone Corp. is buying Speedy France S.A.S., the franchisor of nearly 480 Speedy car service outlets in France, in a move to increase the company's “direct access to end-users” in the country.
Financial details of the deal, still subject to approval by regulatory authorities, were not disclosed. The major shareholder in Speedy France is Speedy Luxemburg Holding S.A.
“We consider Speedy to be a strong strategic fit, with a premium customer mix, extended geographical coverage and a focus on service quality,” said Eduardo Minardi, executive chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Europe/Middle East/Africa. “Furthermore, Speedy has a strong brand recognition and an innovative mindset.”
The Speedy locations will continue to operate under that name, Bridgestone said, and CEO Jacques Le Foll will continue to oversee the business.
From Speedy's point of view, Le Foll said, “teaming up with the world's No. 1 player of the tire industry is excellent news for Speedy, its suppliers, franchisees and its customers.
“The association with Bridgestone will provide us support to ensure Speedy's development while ensuring continuity on our strategic principles: quality, customer service, innovation and pioneer spirit. Consequently, this is a win-win situation for both key players and we look forward to working towards the next phase of Speedy's future development and growth.”
There are 477 Speedy locations in France, Bridgestone said, generating $190 million in annual revenue, with about 40 percent coming from tires. Speedy stores also offer comprehensive diagnostic and car maintenance services, according to the tire maker.
Speedy France has franchise rights in Belgium, Turkey, French protectorates and five North Africa countries. In total, there are 79 more locations in these countries.
When the deal closes, Bridgestone said it will have more than 800 points of sale in France that it controls directly or indirectly. The acquisition is seen as key to fulfilling the company's accelerated growth strategy in Europe.
A service network extension of this nature also provides Bridgestone with a unique opportunity to gain a better understanding of end-users, the company said, which is essential to continue building a leading position.
Bridgestone said its expertise in tires will be a “crucial asset” in Speedy's further development. Speedy stores currently offer a dozen brands, including Bridgestone.
Originally focused on exhaust service, Speedy has been active in France since 1978. The busines added undercar and oil change services in 1983 and tires in 1992. From 1999 through 2011, Speedy was part of the United Kingdom's KwikFit Group.
In 2011 Le Foll orchestrated a “management buyout” of Speedy, with backing from the Mauritius Commercial Bank.